Statement on systemic racism from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

June 4, 2020

The tragic and divisive events taking place in our country touch all of us and hinder progress on essential goals of social and environmental stewardship. It is a cold truth that systemic racism, bias, and social injustice persist throughout our communities, our nation, and the world. As an institute committed to better understanding and protecting our ocean and climate, we believe that, unless issues of inequality are addressed, it will be impossible to live sustainably.

It is important to pause and acknowledge all victims of racial injustice. We stand in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones and seen their communities traumatized.

It is equally important to recognize that we have work to do, and that we must—as an institution founded on principles of partnership and equity—commit to action. At MBARI, this commitment begins in our workplace. We hold as a core value that all are treated with respect and dignity. We welcome diversity and understand that it makes our community stronger and richer.

As we navigate the months ahead, recent events will underscore our continuing efforts to forge a more diverse and inclusive community and culture. Only by striving to work together to build a space where everyone feels safe and respected, and where their voices matter, will we achieve a more just, equitable and sustainable future.

Chris Scholin, President and Chief Executive Officer

Doug Au, Director of Engineering Development

Jim Barry, Science Chair

Heidi Cullen, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives

Mike Kelly, Director of Marine Operations

Basilio Martinez, Chief Financial Officer

Norm Steinberg, Director of Human Resources

Statement from Julie Packard, Executive Director of our education and conservation partner, the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Statement from Craig Neyman, Interim CEO of the Packard Foundation.

Statements and links to resources from other science institutions:

Resources on systemic racism in society, STEM, and academia


Diversity and inclusion in STEMM (The National Academies)

Does STEM stand out? Examining racial/ethnic gaps in persistence across postsecondary fields

Addressing STEM culture and climate to increase diversity in STEM disciplines

Racism in academia (#shutdownstem)

The disturbing resilience of scientific racism

Small bias, big difference

Race and racism in the geosciences

The troubled success of Black women in STEM

Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering

I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.

Doctoral initiative on minority attrition and completion

Professor Ibram X. Kendi on why it’s not enough to admit when you’re being racist: “Challenge those racist ideas”

Stamped from the beginning  and How to be an antiracist (also by Ibram X. Kendi)

The 1619 Project

The time is now: Systemic changes to increase African Americans with Bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy

Structure and belonging: Pathways to success for underrepresented minority and women Ph.D. students in STEM fields

In the nation’s compelling interest: Ensuring diversity in the healthcare workforce

Articles on diversity, equity, and inclusion in marine science:


‎The Ezra Klein Show: Ibram X. Kendi wants to redefine racism

‎The Ezra Klein Show: Why Ta-Nehisi Coates is hopeful

1619 podcast

Code Switch (NPR)

How Facebook and Twitter are dealing with racist posts and friend of Pivot Baratunde Thurston on why “now is the time to step up, show up, or shut up”


Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson on Twitter: “One-minute explanation of why ocean conservation is a social justice issue. (Also, octopuses are amazing 🐙.)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (free on Amazon during June)


Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses ‘White Fragility’

How studying privilege systems can strengthen compassion: Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools